My goal for this year is to read around 50 books. Although I tend to hit between 70-100 books each year, I purposely went lower with my goals so I would choose harder books.
I loved almost all the books I read in January. My favorite had to be Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence. Being a former librarian, I continually laughed out loud at her fake Library of Congress Subject Headings, her breakup or love letters to books. I loved her reasons for weeding books. My family thought I was 1) nuts and 2) such a book nerd. A title I wear proudly. It was a great book if you are well read and of course, it also made me write down a list of books I haven’t read yet. If you enjoy books like this you might also try Texts from Jane Eyre
Somehow I had missed the whole Outlander phenomenon. My mom had passed along the trilogy to me years ago and when I picked it up then I just couldn’t get into them. Of course I had very young kids and the thought of tackling an 800 page book that wasn’t George RR Martin might have contributed. However, I picked it up just before New Year’s Eve and devoured it. It is a hefty book but so good. I love the strong female character she created and now I want to watch the series. Is this the deepest book I’ve ever read? No, but good books don’t have to be deep, they only have to resonate with the reader. If you’ve already the Outlander series and enjoy time jump books try The Night Circus or The Time Traveler’s Wife
I heard about Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear on the podcast What Should I Read Next. I found it at the library and although mystery series aren’t my usual reading fare I loved this book. Maisie Dobbs is another strong female. Her past life mixes with the current mystery making this book about more than just plot.
Growing up I preferred retellings of well-known fairytales. My favorite book was Beauty by Robin Mckinley. I also enjoyed a triology on Guinevere and more.
The Bear and the Nightingale is a book that kept showing up in my Facebook feed and reading lists. It sounded like a book I would enjoy and I did! It takes an unfamiliar to me Russian fairytale and creates a believable world that mixes history and magic. The story set-up is a little long, but the pay out is worth it. And there are two more books in this trilogy.
In an effort to correct my lack of classics reading other than what was required for school, I have started to read Agatha Christie. I love her books, the characters and the situations and she usually keeps me guessing until the end. I picked up Murder on the Orient Express wanting to read it before I watched the movie. Hercules Poirot is an interesting character and it felt like what mysteries no longer have. An actual mystery. So often mysteries anymore are psychological thrillers, which I enjoy but I miss a whodunnit that Christie masters. I enjoyed And then there were none more, but Murder on the Orient Express was a fast read that I recommend to anyone wanting to dive into the world of Agatha Christie.And while you are at it try some classics that you may have missed like Rebecca.
The only book I bailed on was As Good As True by Cheryl Reid. I picked up this book on Kindle First because it centers around a Syrian American woman in Alabama. My grandfather’s family immigrated from Syria at the turn of the century and I have always been fascinated with the assimilation of immigrants. Why do some families retain their traditions and heritage and others join the white culture of America? I appreciate the author’s exploration of the culture and how it fit into the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. The book is rich with details and it doesn’t stereotype the characters at all. I will most likely finish the book, but it may not be the right time. In the winter I prefer fast paced books and although the first 1/4 of the book had me riveted, the backstory slowed down the narrative to much for me to read right now. I still applaud the author for writing something that not many people know or think about.
Lastly, I am helping out with a book club at my kid’s school. I haven’t kept up with middle grade fiction as much as picture books since I left my job as a children’s librarian. The book we are reading is so much fun. It reminds me a little of the Phantom Tollbooth which I loved as a kid. I am about halfway done, but it is a quick fun read with a lot of depth to the story. Milo’s parents own an inn that smugglers frequent. One Christmas vacation, when the inn is usually quiet, people begin to show up and are trapped due to a snow storm. Milo investigates why they showed up to his parent’s inn and hopefully will uncover some of the secrets surrounding his adoption.
This would be a fun one to read out loud as a family or on an afternoon by the fire alone.
That is my January round up. I don’t think I will be as prolific in February, after all I am supposed to be writing a novel 😉
What did you enjoy this month? Did you bail on any books?